Mr. Market is Having Another Fit Over the Fed’s Taper

Asian markets got off to an only mildly down start, so I busied myself on a post that took some concentration, along with some nagging tech matters. As I’m about to turn in, it appears that Asian markets decayed during the trading day and Europe is off to a wobbly start.

The Nikkei finished down over 2.6%. The Japanese index has become so volatile that that means less than it once did but the Hang Seng also closed down over 2.2%. Gold has retreated to 1358. The FTSE is now down over .7%, the Dax is off 1 1.38%. (As I am wrapping up the post, Europe has regrouped a bit, with the FTSE down a mere .45% and the Dax lower by a mere .94%)

The trigger, of course, has been the rapid retreat of hot money from emerging markets. In a nervous-making echo of the 1998 Asian crisis, key Eastern currencies are plunging. From Bloomberg:

Indian 10-year bond yields rose to the highest level since 2001 while the rupiah fell 2.5 percent and the rupee dropped 0.8 percent…India’s rupee is at a record low, Thailand is in recession and Indonesia’s widest current-account deficit pushed the rupiah to the weakest level since 2009.

Oh, and let us not forget that the rumblings of worry about China have also gotten a bit louder of late.

The trigger, natch, is the prospect of the Fed’s taper. The US monetary authority firmly rejected complaints of emerging markets central bankers during QE that the Fed’s actions were generating inflation and unwelcome currency speculation. The market action now looks like a solid vindication of their argument.

Commodities markets have softened too, with the GCSI off 0.9%, also confirming the widely-held belief of the influence of financial markets operators on commodity prices (witness the suddenly aggressive stance of US regulators against the participation of major dealers like Goldman and JP Morgan in warehousing and products that allow for accumulation of physical stockpiles).

US Treasuries have continued to grind downward, with ten-year yields hitting 2.88% yesterday before retreating a smidge. Perhaps even worse for the Fed, after a some weakening in economic reports (more consumer deleveraging, a marked fall in consumer confidence, housing starts missing forecasts), mortgage rates continue to rise, with Bloomberg showing 30-year rates at 4.59%, not far below recent highs of 4.64% (they had backed off to below 4.30% for a few weeks based on Fed officials expressing particularly solicitude about not wanting to undermine the housing recovery).

But there is a bit of good news in all the gloom. At least one analyst blames the swoon on Larry Summers! Will the market hissy fit dent his candidacy? From Clusterstock:

Nomura’s George Goncalves says the bond weakness has to do with angst surrounding the next Fed chair, and the possibility that Larry Summers will be appointed, and take the Fed in a more hawkish direction, meaning fewer asset purchases, and a faster move away from zero interest rates.

Thin summer volumes, bull trap head-fake and slightly better data exposed UST market weakness; it’s no longer just fear of tapering but also uncertainty regarding the next Fed Chair

This past week the US rates market displayed unusual behavior as it didn’t require much in order for bonds to get crushed. We wait anxiously for the FOMC minutes and other key Fed events ahead to gauge what lies ahead for USTs. The biggest risk to the bond market and our tactical bullish trades in our model portfolio is the combination of tapering fears and the election of a more hawkish Chairperson. In such a scenario we wouldn’t be surprised that investors just sit on the sidelines and see how high rates can go if a hawkish Fed nominee is announced, with an overshoot meaningfully above 3% possible. At such extreme levels, we believe that stocks would be under even more pressure as bonds become competitive again and asset allocation adjustments eventually reverse the flows back into bonds.

While our survey and many economists’ and market participants’ predications are that Yellen is still the favorite, there is real possibility about Summers as a real possibility. The risk is that the people who are calling for Yellen could be wishful thinking as market participants may be addicted to the easy money policies of the Fed. These market participants may not view Yellen as the non-disruptive change agent but instead as dove that is similar to (or in some ways even more dovish than) Bernanke. Some media outlets (most noticeably CNN) and online probability trading sites are predicting that Summers gets the nomination. In our survey, our hedge fund accounts are also expecting Larry to get the nod.

The idea that Summers is “hawkish” compared to Yellen is probably an oversimplification of the differences between them, but that is the blunt way the two are perceived. And we can corroborate that there was tons of Summers talk this week, especially on Friday after reporter John Harwood said on Twitter that a good source of his placed the odds of Summers getting the nomination at 2/3. At least in the short term, it seems like this debate will be part of the interest rate equation.

It would be deliciously ironic if the guy Wall Street is pumping for is in fact undermining market confidence. Of course, that’s partly a reflection of the corner the Fed has backed itself into, that any QE exit is likely to be far more disruptive than Bernanke wants to believe. When he first took the helm at the Fed, one of my hedge fund buddies, himself a former Fed economist, remarked that the record of academic economists as Fed chairmen was poor. Despite getting good interim grades from the punditocracy, the aftermath of QE may prove that early call on Bernanke to be correct.

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50 comments

  1. NotSoSure

    What would truly be an unexpected event is if this is the start of the Fed losing control over the bond market. I expect this isn’t the case and I think 99% of the market thinks the same i.e. the Fed is still in control but if the opposite turns out to be true (now and not X years later) …

  2. Ben Johannson

    I’ve wondered which “market” Obama ultimately serves. We lump his patrons into the Wall Street crowd as a monolithic bloc, but in the end is his real concern the Dow or the market of Robber Barons with a specific political agenda, and do the interests of these two markets always coincide?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Obama’s primary concern is Obama and fulfilling his needs. I would contend Obama’s primary motivations are pleasing his fantasy father (see Dreams of My Father) and styling himself as wise father Abraham (see “Eat your peas” language and worship of Abraham Lincoln memorial as opposed to the real Lincoln) which is slightly different than just being another Bill Clinton.

      In Obama’s efforts to appear serious by D.C. standards, he wants to please bankers and other industry leaders who are often older MEN who have devoted their lives to the pursuit of money as opposed to attacking Republicans who often resemble Obama’s fantasy, father figure. Obama will seek to please Wal-Mart/health-fraud industry/insurance/banks/big oil and so forth at the same time.

      This is Obama’s problem. There is nothing left to steal without attacking a Wal-Mart’s revenues. Now Obama is trying to find balance between these actors while not losing his dwindling supporters in the electorate. An unpopular former President won’t get his phone calls returned.

      Obama is trying to please his imaginary fathers and his image of himself. Publicly, he can’t change course or even recognize he has been a disaster because it would destroy his self image and displease his fantasy fathers.

      His recent appearance of being irrational is a direct result of his first term catching up and not producing the results he imagined. To make a course change would have to wreck his status with some fantasy fathers and acknowledge he isn’t wise and all knowing. Obama can’t do this.

      1. Charles Fasola

        Yes, Pinocchio, the wooden boy is pulling all of the strings. Are you delusional or what? O’bama has been a complete success for his puppet masters. Those at the top love the man. He has increased the gap between the 0.01% and the lower 89% to a point even they could not have believed possible; with his soaring rhetoric still mesmerizing those that still believe the system could work for them. His act is flawless. So distressed by societal conditions that it’s effecting his abilities to work for you and me. Wake up.

  3. vlade

    What we need now is a bit of an European theatre, which has been missing so far this year. Wonder whether the German elections will provide some?

  4. Malmo

    I’m hearing and reading numerous accounts that the Fed has somehow lost control of the bond market, and some of these arguments are compelling, but only to a point.

    Let’s say a hawkish Summers gets appointed and the market reacts negatively to the tune of the 10 yr rising to, say, 4%. Is there really any doubt that would only be a temporary event, and that the Fed would use its playbook, if need be, to reassert control in an agressive fashion? Rate targeting would be one such tool.

    Bottom line? The Fed is ultimately in control, contrary to what some are claiming (Karl Denninger, are you listing?). Might just be a little lag time in tamping down rates, that’s all. The lessons from the BOJ should be enough to quell those who doubt this. And the BOJ can do nothing that our Fed can’t do on this side of the pond. If the Fed wants a 2, 3 or 4% 10 yr treasury note then they’re damn well going to get just that. Maybe the FOMC likes rates at 2.8%. Maybe they like them at 3.5%. I just don’t think they like the parabolic rise. That can be fixed in due course if they so desire.

    1. financial matters

      ‘As we know from earlier discussion, government doesn’t sell treasuries to ‘borrow’ its own currency. But it is nice to get interest, isn’t it? Think of it as a government transfer payment, a form of charity. It might be a bad idea, but it is common practice.’ (MMT Primer by Randy Wray)

      Right now QE is transferring money to cover bad MBS. This has its advantages but probably best as a recovery mechanism and not a model for moving forward. I can think of better ideas for these transfer payments.

      Keeping the currency viable involves keeping an eye on inflation and currency exchange. Asset appreciation is probably not the best way to achieve this.

      1. Malmo

        “Right now QE is transferring money to cover bad MBS”

        Bad MBS? I hear that all the time, but have never seen documentation to substantiate the claim.

        1. financial matters

          Fannie and Freddie (agencies) didn’t originate the subprime loans, ninja loans etc but they ended up purchasing them/guaranteeing them with an implied and later actual government bailout. They bought them as ‘disguised’ packages (MBS) although their ‘private executives’ made off pretty well. Think private gain/public loss.

          ————
          http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/08/13/obama-puts-private-capital-at-center-of-housing-plan/

          For too long, these companies (F&F) were allowed to make big profits buying mortgages, knowing that if their bets went bad, taxpayers would be left holding the bag. It was “heads we win, tails you lose.”

          ———

          http://www.newyorkfed.org/markets/ambs/ambs_faq.html

          “Specifically, the FOMC directed the Open Market Trading Desk (the Desk) at the New York Fed to purchase additional agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) at a pace of about $40 billion per month.

          Agency MBS purchases will likely be concentrated in newly-issued agency MBS in the To-Be-Announced (TBA) market because these securities have greater liquidity and are closely tied to primary mortgage rates. The Desk may purchase other agency MBS if market conditions warrant.”

          ——–

          http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-16/three-fed-presidents-call-to-phase-out-mortgage-bond-buys.html

          “When refinancing activity eventually shifts down, the Fed could soon be buying up to 100 percent of MBS issuance if the current purchase program continues,” Fisher said today in a speech in Houston. “Buying such a high share of gross issuance in any security is not only excessive, but also potentially disruptive to the proper functioning of the MBS market.”

          1. Malmo

            Thanks for the links, but they don’t demonstrate that bad paper is being purchased by the Fed. Is there an audit out there somewhere regarding just what the Fed has purchased? Otherwise people are just speculating.

            1. financial matters

              Two relevant links from today..

              Not Too Big to Jail: Why Eliot Spitzer Is Wall Street’s Worst Nightmare Web of Debt

              ‘Less than a month after publishing this editorial, Spitzer had been exposed, disgraced, and was out of office. Greg Palast pointed (http://www.gregpalast.com/elliot-spitzer-gets-nailed/) to the fact that Spitzer was the single politician standing in the way of a $200 billion windfall from the Federal Reserve, guaranteeing the toxic mortgage-backed securities of the same banking predators that were responsible for the subprime debacle. While the Federal Reserve was trying to bail them out, Spitzer was trying to regulate them, bringing suit on behalf of consumers.3

              In a December 2011 article in Slate titled “We Own Wall Street,” Spitzer argued that bad corporate behavior could be stopped by a political movement uniting shareholders, pension funds and mutual funds – the actual owners of the corporations – who could then take coordinated action to demand transparency and accountability.

              This is the sort of creative thinking that will be needed if we the people are to take back our power from Wall Street and the corporatocracy.’

              and

              Judge endorses use of fraud law against Bank of America Reuters. FIRREA.

              ‘The latest decision came in a case the Justice Department brought last October against Bank of America over toxic mortgages that its Countrywide Financial mortgage unit sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the financial crisis.

              The government’s case, which is set for trial on September 23, focuses on a program instituted in 2007 by Countrywide called “High Speed Swim Lane” and also known as “HSSL” or “Hustle.”

              The government contends the program speeded up some home loan processing by removing quality checkpoints, resulting in thousands of fraudulent and defective mortgages being sold to Fannie and Freddie.’

              Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/08/links-82013.html#XObe4RuCeu3Ej8Wy.99

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              Thanks for asking the question.

              The “bad MBS” is 100% urban legend.

              The Fed is buying only high quality MBS. That means either full faith and credit (Ginnies) or Fannie/Freddie (now taxpayer supported, so tantamount to full faith and credit).

              The underlying losses on agency debt, even the debt originated during the crisis, is low (maybe 2% defaults). But that’s a lot higher than what they reserved for.

              The BIG losses at Fannie and Freddie were on their investment portfolio, what they invested in with the proceeds of their insurance premiums. They bought subprime. The investment portfolio losses have squat to do with the MBS Fannie and Freddie guarantee.

              The Fed did SUPPORT (not buy) dreck MBS during the crisis by allowing it to be used as collateral for dealer loans in some of its alphabet soup facilities. Those were all closed down with no losses years ago.

              1. financial matters

                This seems a bit round about as in it is the fact that it is taxpayer supported which makes it high quality..

                The same applies to their investments in subprime. By making the agencies truly government supported they also made these high quality.

              2. Malmo

                Yves, thank you for clearing that up.

                Agency securities are clearly AAA paper–at least based on the hoops one has to jump through in order to originate and subsequently offload a mortgage to said concerns. Also, underwriting standards are draconian, if anything, relative to Freddie and Fannie. I’ve done two refis the past three years and it was like getting my teeth pulled. All to pass muster with the GSE’s

              3. skippy

                @Yves,

                If MBS origination was so egregiously effected – driven by endemic fraudulent valuations, across the hole market strata, which in turn increased valuations of just about all other sundry asset classes and complicated by its utility as a substitute for real wage increases – share in increased productivity – future claims on wealth, whilst a few realized that wealth today and off loaded the risk on the global markets via unregulated synthetic arrangements… I mean to say… what amount of rear guard action via the fed can rectify the mathematical incoherence were confronted with???

                skippy… trust equals love… imo… love is dying and when love is threatened… people act out… disturbance in the force thingy.

                PS. Kisses cheek… whilst… lightest touch holds hand… and dares too… deftly position other to slightly above hip “- -”

                In your eyes…

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9CD4_3wChM

                vs. distortion

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11wX2iKCouc

          2. Yalt

            “Fannie and Freddie (agencies) didn’t originate the subprime loans, ninja loans etc but they ended up purchasing them/guaranteeing them…”

            That slash conflates two very different animals. Fannie and Freddie didn’t guarantee subprime. “Conforming”, meaning eligible for a GSE guarantee, and “prime” are used interchangeably (with, sometimes, an exception made for jumbo loans that were too large for Fannie or Freddie but otherwise conformed). If it’s got a GSE guarantee it was prime by definition.

            1. financial matters

              What does it mean to conform to a ninja loan when there was no serious underwriting? If these MBS could stand on their own I don’t think there would be any need for the Fed to be buying them to the tune of 40 billon/month..

    2. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

      Ok. I’m trying to grasp what might happen if “the taper” idea is forgotten about. Wouldn’t that mean more QE doses until … until what exactly? V/R , z.

      1. financial matters

        It seems to be fueling asset appreciation such as real estate and stocks rather than helping with unemployment. This seems to be mainly a problem of relying too much on monetary policy without good fiscal policy.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Hate to disagree, but that statement is not exactly accurate.

        First, QE was a terrible way to “control” longer term bond rates. By targeting quantities rather than interest rates, the Fed has no idea what effect it is actually having. You can only target interest rates or quantities, not both.

        Second, QE was always supposed to be a temporary policy. Your “relinquish control” suggests the reverse, that the Fed normally controls BOND rates. No, it doesn’t. Throughout its history (with the only other exception WWII). the Fed has controlled only policy rates, which are money market interest rates. Those INFLUENCE longer term bond rates but fall well short of the level of more aggressive intervention of QE, and further short of the sort of control (actual rate levels, not quantity interventions) of WWII.

        1. Malmo

          Isn’t the critical point, however, that the Fed can control rates if need be? In other words, this time it’s different? Way different.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            The only time the Fed came close was in WWII, and extremely aggressive government intervention across the economy was accepted as legitimate due to the war. This would not be seen as remotely acceptable as normal operating procedure for the Fed. I imagine this is a big reason why the Fed wants out of QE, it’s only supposed to be an emergency crisis operation and keeping it going would be tantamount to saying we are still in a crisis (ie the medicine failed).

            1. Malmo

              Thanks. It does appear that the Fed follows where the overall economy/inflation is going rather than leading it. It’s the tail, not the dog.

  5. profoundlogic

    The real irony is that the Fed, in their quest to tame the volatility in the economic cycle, makes the problem worse. You can’t eliminate risk. You can only spread it around. The hubris of central bankers is matched only by their profound incompetence.

  6. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

    As I seem to recall in part, Larry Summers got the “thumbs down” Signal from the Academic Senate of Harvard Univeristy, in the wake of some debacle involving Harvard University’s Endowment(s) …

  7. allcoppedout

    Terms like ‘footsie’ and QE tend to reach me via smiling BBC prattle-pushers so often I can’t take them seriously. Imagine economic news like ‘world to invest in green energy – project jobs to wipe out unemployment’!

    The real problem with ending QE for most of us will be our mortgage repayments and even less disposable income. History from any future will look on these economic rituals as entirely primitive and from an age before reason, demonstrating only that we could not understand the Emperor’s New Clothes.

  8. kjboro

    QE was and remains a high class addiction. And, it’s more heroin than methadone. Either way, ‘tapering’ is an illusion, not the least because the number of addicts is so numerous and the responses so desperate. These ‘real world’ phenomena are the stuff academics often fail to appreciate.

    All of this was encompassed with the apt phrase ‘extend and pretend’. The self-interest of the addicted players plus the naivete and arrogance (and, again, self interest) of Bernanke et al precluded any real insight. The policy makers are in thrall to the addicts as well as their own ignorance and arrogance. As bad as is the cynicism of the former (thrall to the addicts), the latter is perhaps worse because it is so pathetic.

  9. Aussie F

    Like other bailout measures QE also has a vital political role. It gives the political class the opportunity to show off to their friends by giving the finger to the general public in the most vulgar way possible: “look, endless trillions for our corporate buddies, and nothing left for you, not even food stamps, work harder and die peasants.”

    It gives the Swells a nice, warm feeling inside. A big, Green Fix. It’s nearly as good as torturing wildlife or murdering foreigners. Now God’s in His Heaven, and all’s right with the World.

    And have some sympathy, after all, the US doesn’t have a Royal Family, and the financial aristocracy must event novel forms of subordination and humiliation for the undeserving plebs.

  10. Susan the other

    Wolfgang Schaeuble just made another cryptic pronouncement: Only the EU and the US together can save the world. Mmmmm. Is he pretending like there is sufficient EU easing to make a dent in the mess the world is in? Or has the Fed become central banker to the world? If that was the goal, to save the world, QE has done the opposite with zirp. And what has been exposed is global dysfunction. There hasn’t been any functioning market for a very long time. There isn’t a solution anywhere. But catch-22, if QE/zirp ends and interest rates go up, it will be even more devastating. I think Summers is a dart thrower. I think his eclectic decisions and attitudes are too dangerous to allow him to burden this delicate balance. Janet Yellen on the other hand is so steady, she even seems to know what she thinks. If what Schaeuble meant was that the EU and the US have populations that can become consumers for the world, I think he’s dreaming. If he means we have the technology to clean up the planet, I might agree. The first is a rescue only of a pointless capitalism; the second would be the only correct rescue – and that will require a very planned economy because “the market” can’t do it. Too bad we can’t put this question to both Yellen and Summers.

  11. Hugh

    Yellen is a servant of kleptocracy, like Summers, just not as obnoxious. One does not get to be a governnor at the Fed without buying into the essentials of kleptocratic looting. Indeed the Fed as a publicly backed private banking cartel is structured precisely for that purpose.

  12. docjah

    Here’s my “unprofessional hunch”: The prospect of Fed tapering has gotten everyone panicked! And no one is yet prepared to step in to fill the void created by a fed “withdrawal” (tapering that is). But where is the hard-nosed analysis of the real economy? How many really believe that we’ve got an adequately growing national or international economy? How many truly believe that we have adequate demand to drive an expansion? So, – my hunch is that after the perceptually driven interest rate rise we will see interest rates retreat in conformance with the underlying weak economy that we are dealing with. In the end, — we need an end to sequestration and a healthy shot of fiscal stimulus to fill the void that is ruining so many lives and resulting in below par economic development. Would anyone expect otherwise as the world deleverages?

    1. fledermaus

      This is where the phrase “hoist by their own petard” comes to mind. They have done such a good job jiggering the numbers – unemployment, inflation, deceptive job numbers, corporate profit based not on growth but financial shenangians and wage cuts, that if you believe the numbers you’d think the recovery is plugging along and QE isn’t needed anymore. On the other hand saying how bad things are is likely to implode the increasingly shaky stock market.

      1. zygmuntNICEbernier

        “Velocity of money” is an old idea (quite elementary) that seems to capture something that might matter, if the right things were added up: buy lunch (ok), buy a book (ok), go out partying on the town till 4am (ok) , buy bonds (Nope!).

  13. Charles Fasola

    I believe we should stop this incessant questioning and simply put our complete faith in the market and those who manipulate it.

    1. psychohistorian

      All bow to the faith breathers. What could be easier.

      In Gawd We Trust instead of E Pluribus Unum (Out of many, one).

      What the heck did our countries’ forefathers know anyway?

      Fie!

  14. slothrop

    Yvesy I think you are missing the bigger picture. Basel III is sucking the leverage out of the system just like Basel II did in Nov 2007 (mark-to-market accounting). Rest assured this is a controlled demolition.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Basel II had been implemented for Eurobanks well before 2007 (IIRC, 2004 or 2005). They went into the crisis MUCH more levered than US banks. It had not been implemented here, it was in “this is coming, get your ducks in a row for it” mode.

      The MTM provisions you are referring to (Level III assets) were FASB, not Basel, and were for for all US financial firms (Morgan Stanley, Merrill, non-banks were subject too) and they were relaxed almost as soon as they became effective (I discussed back in the day at length).

      1. slothrop

        Why would FASB wait for peak leverage in the system and then suck the leverage right out of it in November of 2007? I’m sorry, but they do not make calls like that on their own. Since the rules were relaxed in April of 09 equities have more than doubled. Pump and dump and here we go again with Basel III. This is playing out right before the eyes of anyone not in polite society to see.

  15. Fiver

    As Yves notes, there are a number of elements coming together to unsettle “markets”, not least the obsession with what (or who) “The Fed” spits up next, as if the Fed Chair held the One Ring That Binds Them.

    But I’d suggest, first, that Bernanke’s move to “taper” was not based on where the Fed thought the economy would be, nor fear (yet) of a major US stock bubble (though a bubble it surely is), but rather the intense discomfort this policy has caused everyone else – with Japan’s Abe’s wrongly perceived Moon Shot for inflation/growth, rather than as a shot across the bow, being the clincher.

    Throughout this crisis, US policymakers and the commentariat have failed miserably in telling the whole story when it comes to QE’s effects outside the US in the context of how badly damaged by the GFC foreign economies and populations were to begin with. If you look back, you will find a strong correlation between barrages of QE and serious strains elsewhere, with multiple warnings from multiple foreign States with respect to rampant inflation in food, energy and housing costs, major currency disruptions, badly distorted ‘hot money’ markets, and political unrest in dozens of countries including mass violence in several – Egypt’s crisis rather obviously anchored in the effects of QE2/”Arab Spring”, but countries on the boil range from “emerging” Brazil, to Turkey, to China, along with Germany, Japan, Korea and other “developed” nations that rely strongly on export of finished products facing effective serial devaluations.

    The simple fact is that nearly 5 years have been utterly wasted in this mad, Washington insider-Wall Street sweetheart experiment, political gridlock or no gridlock – gridlock I strongly suspect was artificial and is about to show some surprising give. Nothing of any value at all has been accomplished either domestically or globally, while a very great deal has been lost or destroyed. That odd feeling in the pit of our guts that Yves pointed out recently is the deep sub-sonic rumble of a domestic and global plea to “Stop!” aimed directly at Washington. Even fool Obama knows it, as he is convening a meeting with the heads of every regulatory agency, his economic “wisemen”, the GSE’s, and anyone else needed to react to, or coordinate in, “a biggie”. In short, we may well be on the verge of a major policy shift away from Fed largesse that pisses off all but speculators, contingent on a controlled, coordinated spooking of “markets” to set the stage – like what?

    Like repatriation of offshore profits, for starters. How would “markets” like to chow that sort of money down? That would carry the can for another year at least, and even generate some real job gains if the Admin actually makes an effort in negotiating with the companies involved. This would carry Obama through the 2014 elections, not an insignificant goal, as if Dems do not score real gains enough to enact some further, winning legislation, they are ashes in 2016.

    So my 3 cents is the current rumbles in the financial markets are a prelude to a credible, though anything but fatal correction which raises the “angst” level to the point required for another US domestic and global round of “stimulus” by those able, but this time without the panic, and without QE – even the far-right economic idiot running and ruining the country north of the US is planning to throw some big money around come the fall.

    Obama has to go for a long bomb, or he’s cooked in his own eyes in a way Bush could never be – though if you saw the “Bush the Artist” interview, even he is deeply damaged. History so far has him penciled in as an utter flop. He knows who has the only big pool of money left and will deal. And it will work well enough to scare the Reps itless – resulting in an insane effort to deliberately trigger a much bigger “market” crisis. The real trouble is late 2014/early 2015.

    Now if that’s not a big enough limb to go out on, I don’t know what is.

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